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How Long Does It Take To Become A Catholic Priest In Nigeria?

Catholic priests are tasked with the responsibility of serving their dioceses, orders, or parishes. Among their responsibilities are the celebration of Mass and the performance of ceremonies such as marriage and funeral rituals. They also counsel people to assist them in achieving spiritual progress, hear parishioners’ confessions and maintain a celibacy lifestyle. 

Priests must be devout Catholics who meet a number of spiritual and educational standards to be competent for their work. In this article, we look at how many years it’ll take you to become a Catholic priest in Nigeria. 

How Long Does It Take To Become A Catholic Priest In Nigeria 

How long it will take to become a priest in Nigeria depends on your starting point and the seminary you attend. The process of preparing to become a Catholic priest in Nigeria can take between four and thirteen years, with an average of six. To become a Catholic priest, you must attend a Catholic seminary, an institution dedicated to the training and education of priests. 

The primary element impacting the duration of this program is whether you begin with a bachelor’s degree or not. If you enter seminary straight from secondary school, your training will be significantly lengthier, possibly at least eight years, if not ten or twelve. A person entering seminary with a bachelor’s degree may require only 4-6 years of schooling before being ordained. 

Priests-in-training focus on four parts of their priestly formation during their time in seminary: personal, spiritual, pastoral, and academic. Its primary objective is to develop willing Catholic men into fully formed spiritual leaders. 

Guide To Becoming A Priest In Nigeria 

  • Make The Decision 

This stage may take several years. Some people consider priesthood for a lengthy period of time, even from their youth. Some respond immediately upon discovering the call. Others become aware of this calling much later in life. Making a personal decision entails a significant amount of reflection, prayer, and listening to God. 

Participating in one’s parish, attending main on a regular basis, receiving the sacraments, performing some form of Christian or community service, and seeking to live a decent Christian moral life are just a few of the ways that can put you in the right path. In Catholic Churches all over Nigeria, there are many programs and groups you can join to help you stay in line. 

  • Apply To Become A Priest 

To apply, an individual must first meet numerous conditions. The applicant must be a Catholic male who has been baptized and confirmed. He must have graduated from secondary school or be within a year of graduating from secondary school. The individual must be in excellent health and free from marital commitments. After that, the candidate would complete the necessary application forms, present sacramental certificates and academic transcripts, and provide references. 

Additionally, the candidate would be interviewed numerous times by top diocesans and would be subjected to the required psychological testing and screening. After completing the preceding steps, the Bishop and the Diocesan Seminarian Board will convene to examine the candidate’s application and then determine whether to accept the candidate, reject the application, or defer the application until a later date. 

  • Attend The Seminary 

After acceptance, the seminarian will begin his preparation for the priesthood at the seminary assigned by the diocese. If a person graduates from secondary school or college without completing a degree, he or she may enroll at a university-like seminary school. 

After earning a degree from the university seminary or completing an unique one-year program at a college seminary for those already holding an undergraduate degree, the seminarian would commence theological studies. 

Not only are seminary staff responsible for educating seminarians, but also for assisting and guiding them toward becoming responsible and mature men prepared to embrace the life of joyful service that is priesthood. 

  • Get Ordained 

After years of school, training, and preparation, the candidate is ordained at the diocese Cathedral. One year prior to being ordained a priest, a seminarian is ordained a deacon. The bishop ordains the individual to the priesthood there, surrounded by family, friends, the diocese’s priests, and other religious and lay leaders. The ceremony, which takes place within a Mass, comprises a witness to his deservingness and the assembly’s affirmation. 

Following that, the candidate makes numerous solemn commitments to the bishop before God. Also, the applicant prostrates on the floor as the Litany of the Saints is sung. The bishop then places his hands on the candidate’s head in an old gesture, followed by all the priests present. The bishop prays the consecration prayer. The newly ordained priest is clothed in priestly Mass attire. 

His hands, which will offer the Mass’s sacrifice, are next anointed in preparation for their sacred task. As the other priests welcome him into the Sacred Priesthood, the bishop presents him with bread and wine and extends a greeting of peace to him. The individual is now authorized to administer the sacraments, and the new priest is sent to a parish to begin his life of service to God’s people. 

Bottom Line 

Priesthood is highly revered in Nigeria hence becoming a reverend father is a thing of pride. However, the journey is not an easy one. As mentioned in the article, you can spend up to 15 years in the seminary before becoming a priest if you join after secondary school. If you have a degree, then it can take 6 to 7 years.